Whether it’s a friend in a jam or a family member visiting from out of state, drivers borrow each other’s cars all the time. But what are the implications for your insurance coverage?
Generally speaking, insurance follows the car, not the driver. So, when a friend or family member borrows your car, they’re borrowing your insurance too.
This means that if they’re involved in an accident while driving your car, you’ll be held responsible for any financial damages including the deductible.
The Fine Print…
While the owner’s policy will, generally, cover someone who borrows a car with permission, there are some instances where it may not.
Review your insurance policy and take note of what’s considered a “family member” or “insured driver” in the definitions section. If your policy only notes “the insured” or “named insured” under the coverages section, you have a restrictive policy that does not extend coverages to those who are not specifically listed on the policy. This means your vehicle isn’t protected if a relative borrows your car and gets into an accident.
Insurance policies also typically include what’s called the permissive driver clause, which allows a car’s owner to occasionally lend the vehicle to someone and still have the owner’s insurance apply.
Even if your insurance policy covers permissive users, it may not cover business uses of your car (either your own or a permissive driver’s), unless you have a specific endorsement for commercial use on your policy.
Similarly, if you lend your car to an unlicensed driver or a driver with substantially less driving experience than you, it is possible that your insurance company will try to deny coverage.
This is all the more reason to read your policy carefully. Contact your insurance provider to learn who is and isn’t covered to drive your vehicle BEFORE you hand a friend the keys.